It’s hard to search “sandblasting” on YouTube without finding videos featuring a long list of DIY blast cabinet. These cabinets appear to work just as well as professional quality sandblasting cabinets produced by industrial equipment manufacturers. Don’t be fooled.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a DIY Blast Cabinet
- DIY blast cabinets typically consist of a box that is nowhere near airtight using wood, old dishwashers or even plastic boxes. Abrasive seeps out from the seams and litters the workspace around the sandblaster.
- These cabinets normally have too small a dust collector, which quickly becomes overrun with abrasive. This results in poor cabinet visibility and abrasive escaping everywhere. There are lots of reasons to wear a dust mask while working in a garage or yard, but using a properly made abrasive blasting cabinet is not one of the reasons.
- Beware of hidden costs. Sure, you saved money up front, but now your cabinet inefficiently recycles abrasive (if at all!) and you constantly have to buy more because it’s full of trash removed for the parts. Your dust collector needs to be emptied so often you find yourself stopping mid-project to clean it. The list goes on and on.
- Poor manufacturing can result in dangerous working environments. We’ve been appalled by the things we’ve seen people assemble, and urge users to consider their own safety and the safety of those around them.
- Time is money. Any person can make a blasting device with about $20.00 worth of parts from any hardware store, but DIY blast cabinets don’t offer the same quality or precision of professional manufactured machines. Part processing can take exponentially longer with a low-quality machine, ultimately costing you valuable time.
ProTip: Evaluate the ROI of spending a bit more on a blasting cabinet that saves you hours of labor time of it’s lifespan for an increase in initial machine cost.
If DIY blast cabinets are such a headache, why do so many people make them at home?
Many users don’t understand the value behind part processing time. They are purely motivated by the cost of the machine. Yes, a DIY blast cabinet may accomplish your goal and process parts, but it’s never going to work as effectively or efficiently as a professionally manufactured machine. Worst-case scenario? You’re compromising your safety by using a sub-par assembly.
To understand why so many different machines exist at such a variety of price points, think about the painting industry. At any hardware store, you can purchase a variety of brushes – some one-inch wide, others four-inches wide and others larger still. While a one-inch paintbrush might not cost much and be great for painting small, hand-held items, you wouldn’t want to paint a house with one.Sure, it’s possible, but it would take you considerably longer than using a brush designed for that application. You might even use more paint, or have to replace your brush prematurely because you’re overusing it. The same concept applies to sandblasting cabinets. Some people don’t value their time and would rather build their own DIY blast cabinet, or buy a cheap, low-quality machine that will use more abrasive, take longer to operate, and ultimately rack up lots of additional costs.
What Should I Use Instead of a DIY blast cabinet?
If you’re trying to clean small, hand-held parts using cleaner abrasives like glass beads there are lots of quality blast cabinets on the market. Media Blast manufactures 170 different blasting cabinet models, including a line of Compact sandblasting cabinets designed for use in home garages. Our goal is to help you buy the right machine for your application the first time!
ProTip: Make sure you’re purchasing a machine right for the air compressor you can operate. Home power is 220-volt single phase and the most air you can normally find is about 22 cubic feet of air per minute. This is a great combination for restoring hand held parts and making those parts look like new.
To Sum It Up:
If you know your application and understand the basics of compressed air volumeyou are in good shape. Rather than trying to cut corners building a DIY blast cabinet or buying the cheapest machine you can find, consider the benefits associated with professionally manufactured machines. It’s very likely you can save yourself exponential headaches and extensive secondary costs by spending a little bit more up front.
If you’re not sure what kind of sandblasting cabinet you need, check out our Buying Guideor contact our helpful customer service department.